A letter from the wife of a Muni operator
Photo by Flickr user kodama
We received this letter from Jenella, who wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a Muni driver’s spouse.
As a spouse of a Muni driver, I understand there is a lot of hate towards Muni drivers. So I thought I’d tell a story about the other side since we always hear about the passengers and their experiences. How about a story about a Muni driver’s experiences?
Every work day, my husband irons and presses his uniform. I shake my head in disbelief. He’s only a bus driver. Being a second generation born and raised in San Francisco transit operator, he takes pride in moving commuters through his great city.
He leaves the house 45 minutes before his relief point just to make sure he’s on time. The nerve! On time….Ha! What a joke. With the new cut backs on a few Muni lines, management also cut back on end of the line times. The only break a Muni driver gets is at the terminal when he heads back to do the run again. So if the driver gets caught up in traffic, or has unruly passengers or the bus breaks down, that can eat up a five minute break easily. This is a common occurrence.
Take for example last night, Sunday night, hubby went seven hours without a break. God forbid he stopped to pee! Besides with his “fat” checks he doesn’t deserve a break, right? Maybe if a driver was allowed a break between a nine-hour shift, there may be less accidents.
One time, a disabled woman who couldn’t climb the stairs needed a ride. So he lowered the lift for her. No problem, except her hip popped out and she had to lay down on the ground and wiggle it back into place. This happened three times while she attempted to board. My heart goes out to her, but the rest of the riders and soon-to-be riders didn’t appreciate the tardiness, and rightly so! Hubby should take crap from passengers for the rest of the evening.
Another time, a man kicked in his door and busted the glass just because he wanted a free ride. Apparently he wants one everyday and that day he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
There was another time when some young punks threaten my hubby with a gun to let them on the bus for free. Unfortunately, the cops got to them before anything happened. Otherwise retribution on a Muni worker might have become a city holiday for voters and riders! Take that you Muni driver: Pop! Pop! Pop!
Then there was the driver who got maced and the drivers who get called racial indecencies all the time. I’m sure the drivers had it coming! Jerk offs! Making the public pay $2 for a ride and then having the nerve to be late! Did you know they get warnings and written up for being EARLY?
And when the old flyers break down! It’s always the drivers fault. After all voters gave Muni money to buy new ones….. so where are they? Newsom and the city needed to borrow some money but never paid it back. This too is also Muni’s fault. They shouldn’t trust those politicians; they should know better.
There’s the homeless who harass passengers and the man with turrets yelling obscenities at the top of his lungs or the woman who’s so drunk she’s causing the other passengers distress or the drunken man who pukes on the bus or argues to stay on the bus but can’t stop calling the driver names. Then there’s the people who cut him off in traffic, motorcycles and bicyclists to watch out for and pedestrians who step off the sidewalk in front of a moving bus. Seriously, who wants to be stuck behind a Muni bus? Also, if I’m on foot and feel like crossing the street, I’m gonna do it no matter what, because as a pedestrian, I have the right away! Stupid Muni drivers and their 31,500 pound bus!
Most nights my hubby comes home and his head hurts so bad from constantly driving defensively, the stress of dealing with the public on a daily basis, he’s in no mood to listen to me complain about preschool costs. I’m not making excuses for him, he deserves ever bit of the public’s crap! He loves his job! But his ass will be out on the street if Newsom cuts his pay or lays him off. We already can’t afford Muni health insurance for our family of three. Seriously $60,000 (before taxes) a year for a family of three to survive in San Francisco should be enough, right? Our rent takes up 2/3 of his paycheck. My hubby had the nerve to vote ”No” last week and it’s really because he’s just a greedy bastard! The cost of living increase pay has already been deferred for three years…..and Muni workers have the highest cost for health insurance than any other city employee. Good thing we can’t afford the city health plan, as I see it we are saving them $900 a month by being uninsured
Joe public, I know you’re pissed because you have to ride the dirty old city bus and pay $2 to do so. But before you start taking it out on a Muni operator, remember Muni drivers are people too. They do the best they can with YOUR safety in mind. Most people wouldn’t last a day driving for Muni. I really wish people would stop blaming the driver for everything! I saw one person make a comment about “back in the day” … Polite, professional, friendly drivers etc…The public “back in the day” were also different. Polite, professional, and friendly. If you get treated like crap every day you’re gonna start having a crappy attitude.
It’s gonna really suck when more lines get cut and more drivers are laid off. The blue collar working class will soon be non existent in this city and when Newsom calls Muni drivers greedy and says that they get “fat” salaries, I think he should try to live in the city with his two dependents on $60,000 a year.